William Buford is a solid, but less-than-exceptional shooting guard prospect.
Buford was a key member of the Ohio State Buckeyes team that reached the Final Four this past season. He was a four-year starter who showed remarkable consistency throughout his college career, averaging double-figures in points all four years and 13.7 for his collegiate career.
Buford has drawn comparisons to another Ohio basketball product, Jimmy Jackson, but in my eyes, the similarities are strictly geographical.
Jackson had a much smoother offensive game, although Buford is a better defender and naturally thicker. Buford will have an NBA career, but it won't be quite as distinguished as Jackson's.
Here is a scouting report on Buford that highlights his strengths and weaknesses.
(Height, weight and stats per statsheet.com.)
Weight: 220 pounds
School: Ohio State
Date of Birth: Jan. 1, 1989
Best NBA Position: Shooting Guard
College Stats (Key Stats Underlined): 14.5 PPG, 33.8 MPG, 41.9 FG%, 35.8 3FG%, 82.5 FT%, 2.7 APG, 5 RPG, 0.2 BPG, 0.8 SPG
Post Game: C
Basketball IQ: A
Buford has good length, and he is solidly built. He can guard most any 2 or 3 in the NBA, and he is a competitive player who takes pride in his defense.
As of now, it is his best trait.
Buford has a solid understanding of the game, especially on defense. His competitiveness and basketball IQ would make him an asset to most teams.
Here is a highlight of Buford that shows off his veteran leadership:
Will Buford be taken in the first round?
Buford is not a great athlete; he's not so slow that it will impact him defensively, but he lacks the burst to get by NBA players off the dribble.
This is augmented by Buford's basic ball-handling skills; he doesn't have much in the way of dribble-drive moves at his disposal, which will make him a fairly easy singular cover in the NBA.
Buford will be more of a spot-up shooter and defender on the pro level, so he needs to improve his accuracy from deep. Because of his limited athleticism, he doesn't have a ton of upside. That said, he is a capable of stepping in and contributing on any NBA team with his grit, defense and three-point range.
NBA Player Comparison: Slightly Less-Athletic Arron Afflalo
Afflalo is a solid shooting guard in the NBA. In his five-year career, he has averaged 8.8 points per game, but he had a breakout season in 2012-2013.
Afflalo made the Nuggets look like geniuses for bringing him back. He poured in 15 points per game and helped lead Denver to the playoffs.
Almost identical to Buford, Afflalo is 6'5" and 210 pounds. He isn't a great athlete, but he may have a slight edge over Buford in that category. Afflalo is a 40 percent three-point shooter, and that is his best attribute. If Buford can work on his accuracy from deep, he can have an impact similar to Afflalo's.
Draft Projection: Early Second Round
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